In ‘Bibliotheca’, one of photography’s greatest love letters to books, Japanese photographer Tokuko Ushioda photographed books not as a mere medium but as valid objects of art. Divided into 26 chapters – among them “used bookshops”, “manga”, “scripture” and “dead”, which features decomposing fragments of old books – Ushioda managed to show books beyond their presence as physical objects. Without showing them, her many photographs, taken in libraries, bookstores, publisher’s cutting rooms, ateliers and private reading rooms, also include the people who used the books.
Born in Tokyo, Japan. Tokuko Ushioda studied under Kiyoji Otsuji at Kuwasawa Design School and graduated in 1963. She taught at Kuwasawa Design School and Tokyo Zokei University from 1966 to 1978. She has worked as a freelance photographer since 1975. In 2018 her Bibliotheca series won the Domon Ken Award, the Photographic Society of Japan’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Higashikawa International Photo Festival’s Domestic Photographer Award. Other representative works include ICE BOX, in which she photographed the contents of various families’ refrigerators.